Pamela Keogh Clarke Interviewed

“I am also amazed at how much ‘junk’ is written about MM. The only reason I can think of that people get away with it, is because there is no one to ‘protect’ her – she really doesn’t have any family, or anyone to stand up for her interests, so people just make up junk about her (or did, right after she died), and then some people today print it as fact without doing any original research. I think there is less of this today (perhaps because of the internet? Not sure.). But right after she died – wow, there was a lot of junk written with no factual validation. Just crazy stuff.”

The author of Are You a Jackie or a Marilyn? is interviewed by Scott Fortner over at the Marilyn Monroe Collection Blog, where you can also enter a competition to win a copy of Pamela’s book – but hurry, the deadline is tomorrow!

Christian Louboutin Reads ‘Blonde’

“Meanwhile, he’s recently finished a new collection inspired by Joyce Carol Oates’ Blonde, a 1200 page biography on Marilyn Monroe.*  ‘It’s such a fascinating book.  One of the most moving books I’ve ever read, actually.  I began to really look at Marilyn, and I realized she is not a style icon, but an icon herself.  I love that Marilyn attitude.'”

Elle

*It should be noted that Blonde is fiction, not biography, and that the page count in my hardback original was 752 (though some trade paperbacks run to 960 pp.)

Marilyn, Rachmaninoff and ‘The Seven Year Itch’

Marilyn with Tom Ewell in ‘The Seven Year Itch’

“It is the second piano concerto by Rachmaninoff that is perfect. As the bell-chords that open the work move into the opening theme Marilyn Monroe comes into focus … it is a fantasy sequence.

She wears a tiger-skin dress and is smoking a cigarette. Sherman reclines at the piano in a smoking jacket that looks like it came from the closet of Hugh Hefner. The conversation is deliberately campy and fabulous.

‘Rachmaninoff… It isn’t fair… Every time I hear it, I go to pieces… It shakes me, it quakes me. It makes me feel goose-pimply all over. I don’t know where I am or who I am or what I’m doing. Don’t stop. Don’t stop. Don’t ever stop!'”

The brilliantly comic ‘Rachmaninoff scene’ from The Seven Year Itch (1955) is being discussed over at Sonic Labyrinth, a ‘blog for the eternally cool in classical music’.

Marilyn: An Icon in Frankfurt

“Private possessions of Marilyn Monroe go on show in Germany this week, most of them collected by a man who was not even born when the Hollywood sex icon committed suicide in 1962.

Among the 300 items never placed on public display before are the actress and singer’s last phone book and her 1961 desk diary, the Museum of Icons in Frankfurt said Monday.

The museum, which normally exhibits Christian Orthodox paintings only, is making a tongue-in-cheek comment on the way that stars themselves, or images of them, are hailed nowadays as ‘icons.’

‘Paintings of her have a similar function to Orthodox icons for the devout,’ said co-curator Snejanka Bauer.

Ted Stampfer, who lives in Mannheim, Germany, lent most of the items for the show. The collection includes Monroe’s hair curlers and clothing including a cream satin morning coat and handmade shoes by Salvatore Ferragamo.

The show, which runs from December 15 to February 28, also includes Andy Warhol portraits of Monroe, her film scripts, letters, bills and even some items of her make-up kit.”

Monsters and Critics

Marilyn: ‘Less of an Icon, More of a Friend’

Sam Shaw, 1957
“I grew up with this picture of (Marilyn) in my bedroom. It’s a picture of her at the house in Connecticut, Roxbury where she and Miller lived and this picture of her wearing this white dress and she’s barefoot and she’s spinning and her head’s back and she’s smiling, it very natural. So my primary association of her is of that, so she’s kind of always felt less of an icon and a bit more of a friend. So that was a decent place to start.
There has never been and maybe will never be someone as beautiful as Marilyn Monroe. Like I’m not a drag queen — I’m not going to get plastic surgery to look like her. I have limitations in terms of how much I can resemble her, so instead what I can master, what I can strive for is her essence.”
Michelle Williams discusses her role in My Week With Marilyn at the Aero Theatre, Los Angeles, where a short clip from the upcoming movie was also shown.

TCM Greatest Overlooked Performances

Marilyn in ‘Bus Stop’ (photo by Milton Greene)

TCM includes one of Marilyn’s shining moments in its new list of the Top 10 Greatest Overlooked Performances. Many felt she was denied an Oscar nomination by the Hollywood establishment because of her rebellion against Twentieth Century Fox.

Marilyn Monroe as Cherie in Bus Stop (1956)

“After studying with The Actors Studio, Marilyn Monroe was determined to draw on every painful memory from her past for her role as a small town singer – dubbed a ‘chantoosie’ by her fans – courted by an idealistic cowboy.  She allowed herself to look under-nourished and performed her one musical number badly, ‘That Old Black Magic’, to capture the desperation of a woman who would never achieve her dreams.  As in her other great performance, Sugar Kane Kowalcyzk in Some Like It Hot (1959), the role is a central part of the legend of Marilyn – the beautiful, sensitive loser.  But the film’s success failed to bring her an Oscar nomination or much respect.  Reporters were more interested in signs of star temperament, as when she insisted co-star Hope Lange’s hair be darkened so as not to match hers, than the painstaking efforts she put into one of the best roles she would ever play.  Neither has the passing of time helped fans to appreciate Monroe’s performance, for many aspects of the film have not aged well.  In his dogged pursuit of his ‘Cherry,’ cowboy Don Murray now seems less romantic than criminal – a grating sexual bully.  And Cherie’s ultimate capitulation puts into question all of the dreams that made her so touching.  Beyond the sexual politics, however, the film vividly reveals what Monroe could have done as an actress had Hollywood allowed her to re-invent herself.”

Wild Strawberries: ‘Life-Sized Marilyn Monroe’

‘Life-Sized Marilyn Monroe’ was originally released in 1993 in an EP by Canadian indie band Wild Strawberries. The track can also be heard on their 1995 album, Bet You Think I’m Lonely.

Video

Booker T is playing on the radio
Jimmy Dean he plays on my mind
Someday soon I'm gonna' wipe your filthy boots
When I expose you
You Philistine, your Philistine eyes
You can take your five and dime
Shove it in your Elvis records
You can send your valentines
To your very own life sized Marilyn Monroe
You keep singing everyday's the fourth of July
I keep wondering why
I don't know how I ever met you,
Don't know why I can't forget the way you tease me
You Philistine, your Philistine eyes
You better stop calling
Kicking my love around
I don't care if you're another Rudolph Valentino
I don't care if you're the marrying kind
You better stop calling
For my love